Cuban Knight Anole a Concern for Turks and Caicos

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Emily Heber (Island Conservation) writes about the Cuban Knight Anole, an invasive species in Turks and Caicos that is becoming a threat for the native species. She quotes Bryan Naqqi Manco (Department of Environment and Coastal Resources) who says that the knight anole will eat other lizards, small mammals, birds, and eggs. In an article in Turks and Caicos Weekly News, Naqqi Manco also stressed that the knight anoles are a major threat to the Islands because of their large appetites and lack of fear as they are not “too much bothered by predators in their native environment” and “they do not have much fear of anything.” Heber writes:

The Cuban Knight Anole is valuable to the island nation where it is native and for which it is named, but when introduced to habitats outside its natural range, the species becomes problematic. As the largest member of the Polychrotidae family, the Knight Anole measures up to 24 inches (61 cm) long and is an agile hunter. The Anole lives in the tree canopy in its native ecosystem and feeds on everything from insects to tarantulas to other lizards. In Cuba, the Anole helps balance the ecosystem, but the predatory lizard can and does have negative impacts on islands such as Turks and Caicos

On the Turks and Caicos Islands the Knight Anole, invasive feral cats, and rats are decimating populations of native birds, lizards, and snakes. Knight Anoles were originally transported to the islands intentionally as pets, but also accidentally along with imported plants. [. . .]

Prior to the species’ introduction to the islands, Turks and Caicos had no real biosecurity measures in place to prevent non-native species from being brought to the islands. Now the island nations are stepping up and monitoring for non-native plants and animals. Manco commented: “Anyone who is importing plants or animal commodities is required to go through a process with the Department of Agriculture; with exotic species like lizards and snakes or small animals.”

The Knight Anole causes concern for both wild and domesticated species of Turks and Caicos Islands and poses a serious threat to the diversity of native lizards and birds. Preventing introductions of non-native predators is crucial for preserving biodiversity on islands.

For full IC post, see https://www.islandconservation.org/cuban-knight-anole-turks-caicos/

Also see original article at http://tcweeklynews.com/man-discovers-invasive-lizard-species-in-his-backyard-the-cuban-knight-an-p7942-127.htm

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